Eastern Cape-based manufacturing microbrewery Dockside Brewery is beta testing an in-house developed supervisory control and data acquisition system that will be launched in South Africa next year.
Dockside Brewery co-owner and brewer Karl Schlaphoff explains that the fully integrated financial and manufacturing system manages brewery operations in their entirety, from buying and selling to temperature control and product levels on the brewery floor.
Moreover, it automates the brewing and administration process and provides a single entry system through this automation, making brewing and cleaning processes more energy and water efficient.
He highlights that this increases the overall operational efficiency of the brewery while reducing costs. The system also automatically produces monthly reports, which can be submitted to the South African Revenue Service as part of the records required of businesses.
“While there are plug-in management systems available on the market . . . their features are limited when compared to our design. Dockside Brewery’s system will be the first purpose-built system for alcohol producers in the country.”
He explains that, for example, a temperature reading from a sensor in the field at a particular time can be logged directly on the system in the brewer’s notes while producing a batch of beer.
Information pertaining to each batch can then be accessed at any time for comparison to improve consistency between batches or at a later date by administrative staff to trace raw materials to original invoices and purchase orders. The same information can also be requested in reports from a customs audit.
The system is being trailed at Dockside Brewery, and Schlaphoff says that the company is slowly introducing it to the market. “The system is a bit ahead of the market; our challenge is to encourage people in the brewery industry to understand how the entire business – the financial and industrial sides – can operate using one system.”